Class 10 English The Frog and The Nightangle Summary and Important Questions

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SUMMARY OF THE POEM
 
In ‘The Frog and the Nightangle’, Vikram Seth describes how a wicked frog tired and exhausted an innocent but stupid nightingale of to death. The cunning and crafty frog exploited her magical voice only to collect money at the ticket window. The simple and unsuspecting nightingale allowed the bully (frog) to misguide and ruin her career and life.
 
It's common knowledge that a frog's voice is the most cacophonous and unmusical while the nightingale's is the most melodious. In this poem, however, the frog thinks that its voice is the most melodious one. However, as soon as a nightingale so obviously famous for its melodious voice arrives on the scene and begins entertaining the other animals, the frog becomes jealous and decides to eliminate the nightingale. He does this by subtly making the nightingale doubt its own abilities and even suggesting that it will train her! The poor gullible bird is completely deceived and allows herself to be exploited by the pompous frog finally leading to her death. The poem gives the message that the magic formula for success is self-confidence.
 
The poet, Vikram Seth, very cleverly gives us a message of the importance ofself-confidence and moral courage in his poem 'The Frog and the Nightingale'. Once in a bog, a frog sat under a sumac tree and croaked all night in a loud and unpleasant voice. The other creatures disliked his voice but their complaints, insults and brickbats couldn't stop him from croaking stubbornly and pompously, insensitive to the disturbance he was causing.
 
Then, one night a nightingale appears at the bog. Her melodious voice captures the admiring attention of the creatures of the Bingle Bog. Ducks and herons swim towards the sumac tree after they hear the nightingale sing. 'When she stops, there is thunderous applause with the creatures demanding a repeat performance (encore). One lonely creature even weeps hearing her song. It was the jealous frog who, disturbed by the intrusion of a challenging rival, listens to the nightingale dumbstruck.
 
Next night, when the modest bird prepares to sing, the plotting frog interrupts and posing as a music critic, says that her technique of singing is fine, but it lacks some energy. Unassuming and not used to any kind of criticism, she defends herself by saying that the song is at least her composition. The heartless frog convinces the nightingale that she was in need of training that only he could provide. The nightingale, lacking in confidence and extremely gullible, agrees and flatters him saying that he was Mozart in disguise. The frog capitalized on the nightingale's servile attitude and said that he would charge a modest fee, which would not harm her.
 
The nightingale soon became famous and the frog gre.v richer, earning money from her concerts. Eminent personalities like the Owl (Earl) of Sandwich and Duck (Duke) of Kent attend the concerts. The frog sat and watched with mixed feelings of happiness and bitterness. Happy because he was earning money and jealous because the bird was receiving so much attention.
 
Meanwhile, the frog makes the nightingale rehearse hard even when it rained and constantly criticised and abused her, ensuring that she became broken in spirit. Fired and spent, her voice lost its beauty and the creatures stopped coming to hear her sing. Dull and depressed, she refused to sing, but the frog goaded her to practice. Scared and unhappy, the nightingale tried to sing, burst a vein, and died.
 
The frog, unsympathetic, dismissed her off calling her 'stupid'. A shrewd judge ofcharacter, he summed her up saying that the nightingale was too nervous and prone to influence, hence bringing her own downfall. Now, the frog once more sings at night in his bog-unrivalled.
 
 
SOLVED QUESTIONS
 
Q.1: "Bravo!" "Too divine!" "Encore!"
         So the nightingale once more.
        Quite unused to such applause,
        Sang till dawn without a pause.
(a) How did the creatures react to her song ?
(i) They liked it very much.
(ii) They were surprised at such a song.
(iii) They were delighted at her song.
(iv) They praised, cheered and asked for more
(b) The rhyme scheme of the line is :
(i) aa, bb (ii) ab, ab (iii) a, b, a, b (iv) ab, ba
Ans. (a) (iv) They praised, cheered and asked for more
        (b) (i) aa, bb.
 
Q.2: Well, poor bird - she should have known
That your song must be your own.
That's why I sing with panache.
"Koo-on-ah! k-ash! ko-ash!"
And the foghorn of the frog
Blared unrivalled through the bog.
(a) What should the poor bird have known ?
(i) She should not have sung day and night.
(ii) She should have known how to attract the audience.
(iii) She should have known that her song should have been her own.
(iv) She should have known the latest trends of singing.
(b) Why does the frog sing with panach ?
(i) He doesn't bother about other animals.
(ii) His voice is manly and strong.
(iii) His song is his own and he doesn't look towards others for advice.
(iv) He is full of confidence.
Ans. (a) (iii) She should have known that her song should have been her own.
(b) (iii) His song is his own and he doesn't look towards others for advice.
 
Q.3 Do you agree with the frog's claim to be the best trainer in the field of music ? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. The frog claimed to be an authority on music. He further declared that no one was as brilliant a trainer as himself in the field of music and his training could transform a novice into a singing sensation. However, his claim is a baseless one and it is soon proved when rather than polishing her art, his training session spelt the poor bird's death.
 
 
Q.4: Why do you think the frog wanted the nightingale to put on her scarf and sash ?
Ans. The frog wanted the nightingale to put on her scarf and sash because it was her formal dress, a kind of uniform, as a trainee singer. Moreover, the scarf would protect her against the rain and her continue with her training despite the bad weather.
 
Q.5: It was more of Nightingale's gullibility, than the Frog's scheming that led to her downfall and death. Comment.
Ans. Yes, the Nightingale was herself to blame for her tragic end. She was gullible and terribly failed to see through the frog's evil desing. She lacked intelligence and critical assessment, and quite readily believed that the frog was an authority on music who had generously accepted to train her. Instead, she felt obliged to him. She allowed the frog to exploit her commercially. Driven by a desire to be a sensational singer, she sang for excessively long hours and lost out on sleep and thus exhausted herself. Had she put her foot down, she would neither have lost the melody of her voice and spontaneity of her song nor her precious life and continued with the freshness and sweetness of her voice.
 
Q.6: How did the role of the audience affect the fate of the Nightingale ?
Ans. When the Nightingale sang for the first time in the Bog, the audience who were only used to crass cacophony of the Frog, went ecstatic at her melodious and divine song and wanted her to sing throughout the night. Thus the audience turned the Nightingale in to a sensational singer. But when her song turned monotonous, tired and uninspiring, the attendance at her concerts fell sharply and so did the income. Discouraged by this indifferent response, the Nightingale lost all her confidence and will to sing well. Thus, the audience seriously affected the Nightingale's fate which made her sensational singing career end up in tragedy.
 
Q.7 Write a note on Vikram Seth's use of symbol in the poem "The Frog and the Nightingale".
Ans. "The Frog and the Nightingale" is an allegorical poem and therefore has a lot of symbolical singificance. The Frog, for example, symbolises opportunistic and cunning people who have little worth themselves but thrive by exploiting others. Many music organisers are just like him. The Nightingale on the other hand, stands for naturally talented artists who are so innocent and simple that they fall an easy prey to the vile schemes of people like the Frog, and in spite of their talent, fail to achieve any fame and prosperity. Carrers of many such talents end up in disaster and like that of the nightingale in the poem, they die unsung, unknown and unhonoured.
 
Q.8: The poem "The Frog and the Nightingale" is a satire on today's society in which a cut throat competition prevails. Comment.
Ans. In "The Frog and the Nightingale", Vikram Seth seems to satirize the hypocrisy, opportunism and manipulation prevailing in human society. The poem is an attack on the exploitation of the innocent and guileless talented artists by cunning and moneyminded music organisers. He criticises the cut throat competition which makes sham artists like the Frog resort to all sorts of foul means to survive and thrive in the world even if it means forcing someone to death. The whole world is mad after making money. People like the Nightingale, although talented get exploited and suffer immensely in their search for recognition.
 
Q.9: Why did the attitude of the audience change towards the Nightingale in the end ?
Ans. The attitude of the audience changed towards the nightingale because her songs lost all their orginality, spontaneity and melody. The Frog's excessive and faulty training , rather than making her a winner, robbed the Nightingale's songs of the uniqueness, freshness and sweetness that they had. Long training sessions drained her of all her energy. Now she neither sang energetically nor impressively. Hence the audience's attitude changed towards. Her and they lost interest in her performances.
 
 

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